Spending "Moore" Time at Baylor

Feb. 5, 1999

by Lori Scott Fogleman

During his first two months on the job, Baylor's new vice president for student life Dr. Steven G.W. Moore spent long hours on the campus. With his wife and three children still in Seattle until after Christmas, he put the extra time to good use, getting to know students, staff, faculty, the campus, and people's hopes and dreams for Baylor University.

Moore's mornings often began with an early breakfast in residence hall cafeterias where he laughingly admits to giving at least a couple of students "coronaries." Moore recalled an early morning meal with a student who Moore found sitting by himself. "I said, 'My name's Steve Moore,' and his name was Steve as well. He said, 'What do you do? Are you a teacher or something?' I said, 'No, I'm vice president for student life.' And he just went ashen," Moore laughed, "and he said, 'Have I done something wrong?' And I said, 'No, unless you want to tell me that you've got something you need to confess!'

"He was a freshman from Mississippi, and it just shocked him that a vice president was in there eating breakfast with him," Moore said. "We ended up having a great conversation about why he came to Baylor, what he hopes to have happen during his time here, what his struggles have been the first few weeks."

So how was Moore, vice president for campus life at Seattle Pacific University since 1989 and an ordained Methodist minister, drawn to the world's largest Baptist university?

"Friends, who didn't know each other, kept calling me, saying that when they heard about this position, they thought about me and thought that I should consider it," Moore said. "After the third call, I started taking notice."

The rest, so they say, is history.

Actually the combination of many factors led Moore to Baylor as a replacement for Dr. William D. Hillis, who returned this fall to a full-time teaching post in Baylor's biology department.

Moore's roots are in Texas. He grew up "all over Texas," but it was in Abilene where he graduated from high school. His wife, Thanne, is a Baylor graduate, receiving both her bachelor's and master's degrees in speech pathology. Another strong draw, Moore said, was Baylor's commitment to an educational experience that included academic quality, co-curricular learning, a strong campus culture and a commitment to the spiritual growth of students. "A lot of institutions, particularly church-related institutions, have abandoned the last three, and you end up with broken, fragmented communities where students aren't shaped in any way except intellectually," Moore said. "We're dealing with human beings here, and we want to shape the whole person -- the physical, mental, spiritual and social. I think a lot of what our office is about is building and giving opportunities for community to form, whether it happens on a residence hall floor, around a meal table, in a club or organization, or on a committee made up of students."

The strength of Baylor's administration also led Moore to Waco. "It's a fantastic group of people," Moore said. "They really have a vision for making Baylor one of the leading Christian universities in the world. There really has not been a Protestant university that has stepped up to be a world-class Christian university, and I think Baylor is poised to do that."

Moore earned a bachelor of science degree in history and political science from McMurry University in 1974. He completed his master of divinity degree with honors from Asbury Theological Seminary and received his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1992.

Moore assumed the duties of vice president for student life on Nov. 1. In addition to his position at Seattle Pacific University, he served as executive director of the Wesley Foundation at Texas Tech University, where he also was an adjunct professor of world religions and ethics.

At Baylor, Moore's first weeks included a whirlwind of major activities, on campus and off: Homecoming, the Baptist General Convention of Texas in Houston, and the November meeting of the Baylor Board of Regents in Waco. "It gave me a good orientation to key constituencies," Moore said. "It gave me a chance to hear from people firsthand about their vision for Baylor."

But it may have been his experience at the 1998 Homecoming pep rally and bonfire that put Moore on the road to doing what he does best-developing a solid relationship with Baylor students.

The bonfire speaker had not shown up, and bonfire organizers asked Moore to fill in -- fast.

"I told them I'd never been to one before so I didn't know what to say," Moore recalled. "They said, 'It doesn't matter. Just get up there and say something.'"

So he did. Right off-the-cuff.

"I said that a lot of what Homecoming is about is memories," Moore said. "One of the great memories from a Baylor Homecoming was tearing down the goalposts a year ago and beating Texas. I said let's build another memory and beat the number two team in the country."

Moore also told the bonfire crowd that one of the great things he has learned about Baylor is that everyone matters, whether you're on the playing field or sitting in the stands. "Sometimes when we watch athletic teams, we forget that we as fans matter, and that win or lose, we need to always stand with our teams and say we're with you all the way. We need to remember we're part of the team too.

"The Homecoming experience helped me become totally immersed into some of the great traditions, the great spirit of the Baylor campus," Moore said. "It was really a good way to begin my first week."

Today life for the Moore household is settling down after after a cross-country move from Seattle to Waco over the holidays. Thanne Moore, a speech pathologist by profession, is spending her time these days getting their house in order. Their children - Madison, 13; Maegan, 10; and Mollie, 8 - are in school and adjusting to life as Texans.

For Baylor's new vice president for student life, things couldn't be better.

"The challenges and opportunities here are just fantastic," Moore said. "Baylor is just on the move. It's a great time to be on board."

Looking for more news from Baylor University?